The Critical Path Of Dignity To Every Young Person Out There, By Praise Fowowe

My first degree was accounting before I took up permanent residency in the family life sector. I remember clearly how my dad would complain about my consistent stay at school without bothering him about my financial needs.

I can recollect how I took responsibilities for my friends during exams when most would had become broke and so fresh is the memory of how many school fees I helped in paying, even as a student.

The big question anyone should ask now is: ‘What was my source of wealth’?

I learnt early from the book of Proverbs that ‘It is better to get your hands dirty and eat than to be too proud to work and starve’ so I sourced for opportunities to do anything ethical, legal and right, to earn something for myself.

If you had graduated from the University of Ado Ekiti, it would interest you to know that I painted many of the doors in your hostels and was paid #500 daily for working for 4 hours. So in a week, I earned #2500 which was a lot way back in 1998 or so. I learnt early enough what it means to solve problems and get paid for doing so.

Fast forward to the year 2002 as an employee who had just pledged away his 9months salary for a cause I believed in, my brother was a bit scared about how I would survive my madness that period but guess what? I had survived as a student and my skills had not deserted me. So, what did I do that time?
DIGNITY: My letter to younger folks

My first degree was accounting before I took up permanent residency in the family life sector. I remember clearly how my dad would complain about my consistent stay at school without bothering him about my financial needs.

I can recollect how I took responsibilities for my friends during exams when most would had become broke and so fresh is the memory of how many school fees I helped in paying, even as a student.

The big question anyone should ask now is: ‘What was my source of wealth’?

I learnt early from the book of Proverbs that ‘It is better to get your hands dirty and eat than to be too proud to work and starve’ so I sourced for opportunities to do anything ethical, legal and right, to earn something for myself.

If you had graduated from the University of Ado Ekiti, it would interest you to know that I painted many of the doors in your hostels and was paid #500 daily for working for 4 hours. So in a week, I earned #2500 which was a lot way back in 1998 or so. I learnt early enough what it means to solve problems and get paid for doing so.

Fast forward to the year 2002 as an employee who had just pledged away his 9months salary for a cause I believed in, my brother was a bit scared about how I would survive my madness that period but guess what? I had survived as a student and my skills had not deserted me. So, what did I do that time?
I took Pastor Bimbo Odukoya’s tapes to the banks and sold for at a higher price. I made Zobo and positioned in front of churches and I also offered to dry clean clothes for my friends for a fee. I also became an emergency musician supported by Excel Adeleye-Samuel to play at wedding ceremonies. We did anything and everything legal, ethical and right just to be able to feed. That was the period pap became my favorite meal because that was what I could afford and #5 naira biscuit with tea became common on my desk while rehearsing for a life of a future executive.

Why am I writing this and where am I going?

My heart sinks everyday when I see what young people are willing to do to earn and how people put themselves under unnecessary pressure just to belong. The quest to drive the latest cars and live a life we are not qualified for is driving many of our young minds into all sorts of crime.

Sometimes, we may want to blame bad leadership but this bad leadership was in existence when I sold zobo and painted doors. Why are we suddenly pretending as if this bad leadership just started yesterday?

Pay attention to the songs on airwaves and you’d be shocked at how much of ‘Make money at all cost and be ashamed if you don’t have money’ these young minds consume everyday. Unfortunately, religion has also reduced God to the one we can command and money cometh but do we bother to find out what people do between the chant and the testimonies?

Dear young minds, I want you to note the following:
1. That you want to drive that big car now and go testify about it is a proof that our transportation system has failed because your car is a tool for transportation and any attempt to qualify it otherwise is ignorance.

  1. Don’t put pressure on yourself because someone advertised 7digit income. Those who earn 7 digits daily or weekly don’t announce it on social media. You might want to ask those who peddle such if they earn such all the time and ask them to show you their evidence.
  2. Never measure your success by what you drive; measure it by what drives you because success as defined by a wise man is not what you have achieved rather it’s what you have achieved compared to what you could have achieved.
  3. Your journey is not the same as others’ so keep your focus and run your own race, lest you crash because godliness with contentment is great gain.
  4. Volunteer with anyone that is honest enough to tell you the truth and show you the way and don’t be fixated on what to earn as a starter. As you discover what they know what you know will ultimately produce what they earn.
  5. Yahoo Yahoo and 419 are not the way to go because the same level of skills and diligence deployed to scam people could have been used to do a legitimate business
  6. Have dignity in whatever you do as long as it is not stealing and give it your best because money is what you get for adding value and a true measure of your humanity is the value you can add to the society. Even if all you do is sell water, carry yourself with dignity and look for how to scale up. You are better off than a thief.
  7. Refine your skills and plan to be indispensable to the future. I started with nothing and served the best in my field for free. Not once did I steal their funds and not once did I disrespect them. I wanted to become the best so I went after the best. You can serve your way to wherever you want to go.

At the end of your life, what would matter is not what you drove or at what age you made your first billion. What would matter will be the value you have added to
At the end of your life, what would matter is not what you drove or at what age you made your first billion. What would matter will be the value you have added to humanity and how truly your mind can be at peace with what you have done with your life.

Be proud of your trade and know that as long as you are hardworking and what you are doing is adding value to humanity, no matter how much our society counts it as insignificant, you deserve a lot of accolade.

I honour you


Praise Fowowe

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Social Change, Youth And Political Leadership, By AbdulYassar AbdulHamid

A month ago I, alongside a friend with whom I share almost everything in common, had about an hour-long, educative discussion with a Kano-born, Hausa musician Aminu Ala in his office on the rise and sudden decline of many Hausa musicians.

He raised this argument citing many examples with live and dead musicians who could not cope with the turbulent waves of social change and at last lost their voices. He argued that many of those musicians could not fashion out some ways, either by changing their theme or adopting foreign musical instruments, in order to adapt to changing circumstances.

“For example”, he said, “many of those artists had held tight to the past forgetting innovation and the merciless sword of radically unstable time had to cut them off the pages of stardom. A month ago I had to blend Indian musical tune and Hausa’s kalangu to produce a song. I used this as a boat to float safely on the tides of social change.”

We unanimously agreed on this point and a friend of mine cited an example of Craig David and Steven Wonder, who after releasing some captivating best-selling albums withdrew to the gutter of forgetfulness, to support Ala’s claim

At once I referred them to a philosophical assertion Ibn Khaldun set forth in his masterpiece, Muqaddama (Prolegomena), a timeless book that analyses the social organizations, their rise, growth and sudden decline; and in the words of Albert Guarani, a book “Full of reminders of the fragility of human effort”.

Sometime thereafter I often ask myself many philosophical questions on social change, the way civilizations are “Visited by a destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish…when they had reached the limit of their duration. It lessened their power and curtailed their influence”, in the words of that great historian. Should this give both our youth and political leadership a clue about the reality of life?

Must people chance in accordance with convulsive movement of time, weather and the universe? How will Kano, Nigeria, perhaps the world at large look like in the next one hundred years when we are long gone?

Although many anthropologists have argued that change is natural and inevitably ever-present in every aspect of life, why do we look at alteration in individuals rather than social structures, institutions and social relationships that are the leading agents of such changes?

By applying the theories of social change to the Nigerian context, one can argue that we are somehow caught in the stagnant webs of the past.

In more than sixteen years of democracy only two agendas have pathetically materialized out of tens of others: lazy unproductive youth struggling with cargo of negative mentality and irresponsible leaders that have built structures upon structures on quicksand.

Changes in our population both in number and composition have far reaching effects on our social co-existence. It affects our economic well-being especially when the authorities fail to invest in its population to make them an asset rather than a liability to themselves, their immediate family members and the larger society.

This is, perhaps, because subsequent governments have failed to chart some sustainable ways to resuscitate the economy. An increase in the population, since political leadership has failed us, results in an increase in unemployment, crime rate, poverty and inadequate facilities.

“The establishment of systems where democratic principles abound and are upheld”, argued Strashbourg, “requires a civil society where the youths are predominantly the catalyst of a socio- political and economic culture attuned to democracy, liberty and freedom”. This reminds me of the Not Too Young to Run bill passed recently by the National Assembly.

Indulge me to say the future of this country, though bleak, pardon my calling it bleak,  lies in the hands of our youth; but because of their quality of their education, unpreparedness and cargo-mentality, they lack the prerequisite skills to run a political office effectively. Until our youth wake up from their daydreaming, shake off that extravagant, wishful thinking and take up responsibilities with changing circumstances, the country will continue to languish. Not my hope!

There is a clear indication that an increase in population, if not empowered by a committed leadership, results in high rate of unemployment, poverty and crimes to mention just a few. All this is because, perhaps, subsequent governments have no plan for the future which is fast approaching with its sharp projectiles.

Political leadership is a “permission to govern according to declared policies, regarded as officially granted by an electorate…upon the decisive outcome of an election” (Chambers dictionary, 1993). But unfortunately, the law that should have been an effective instrument of socio-economic and political changes and protector of the interest of the weaker section of the society has ended up a subject of mockery. Take for example the recent happenings in the parliament. A serving senator flanked by some hoodlums, so they called them – perhaps taking it after the former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who used it as a weapon against his perceived enemies in 2013 – allegedly invaded the parliament and carted away the mace, which is the symbol of authority. Wonders, it is not about the structure which is made of mahogany, rather what it symbolizes, the context and the people involved.

“A leader”, argued John C Maxwell, “is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. Gosh! Most of our leaders have undying contempt of the law. They, many analysts have suspected, arrogate all the powers to themselves, forgetting that the masses are the real power. How on earth an occupant of an established political position called a leader that should have imbibed moral principles and set up a good model for the followers to copy from exemplifies the opposite?  But when a responsibility-laden character chooses to misbehave one has nothing to say but as Thomas Carly claimed that, “Modern democracy has produced many fools who vote leaders into the parliament to palaver”.

Political behaviour as a theory has never made any attempts at admitting such misdemeanors into its fold. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but, leave him when he is wrong,” as an individual affected directly by the misdeeds of such leadership I will flag them down by giving them a very  low mark.

Perhaps this is what makes Bigger Thomas to say, when tired of mulling over his feelings, “God, I wish I had a flag and country of my own”; but at least here as there the mood will soon vanish, too, and everyone goes his own way.

Abdulyassar abdulhamid wrote in from Kano and can be reached at









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The Nigerian Politician And The Scam Called ‘Youth Empowerment,’ By Isa Mubarak

Nigerian politicians were able to come up with a new definition for the word “empowerment”. “Youth empowerment” to Nigerian politicians simply means distributing keke and wheel Barrow among the youths. Not what we know as a process where young people are encouraged to take charge of their lives. Wasting taxpayers money on Tshirts and bags of rice with their faces boldly printed on them.
Our lawmakers receives almost 600million as constituency allowance for the four years in office to commence constituency projects that will better the lives of the poor masses amidst all other allowances he collects. These politicians put off their main responsibility of attracting industries and investments to their constituencies for the creation of employment to rather distribute rice, tricycles, motorcycles, sewing machines, clippers, wheelbarrows, scissors and generator among other things in the name of “Youth Empowerment”.
The scam Nigerian politicians call ” Youth Empowerment” is even more shallow than we thought because it seems every politician often do this “empowerments” for their loyalists, sycophants, bootlickers and praise singers. Even in this so called “empowerment,” you need the necessary “connection” to get your own share. An empowerment that is oblivious of the blinds, the disabled, the orphans, the less privileges, the widows, the aged, unemployed graduates is nothing but a big scam.
I urge Nigerian politicians and CSOs to stop desecrating the word “empowerment”. Every little thing, “we empowered 10,000 youths” and you find out it is just a ploy to get people and take photos to show the world that they are supposedly working.
He buys like 20 wheel barrows, 20 sewing machines, 100 scissors, 4 grinding machines, 10 tricycles, 50 bags of rice, 15 motorcycles and maybe 2 brand new cars. Mind you, there are levels and procedures as to how this tools are shared. The cars and motorcycles are not for the ordinary youths, these are mostly for honorables, community leaders, chiefs, party loyalists, thugs who by the way doesn’t really need them.
The politicians stealing our collective inheritance, giving us a fraction of it in return for an endless life of hardship, ill health & untimely deaths is not EMPOWERMENT. He keeps this money for some times and in the bid to come for second or third time, he use it to buy votes from the same people.
Let’s say for instance, there is an industry or investment in a particular community, the people of the community will benefit hence it will provide jobs and other avenues of revenue generation for them. The investment will equally attract other businesses that will act as means of revenue generation for the people.
Instead of always sharing wheelbarrows and motorcycles, sometimes they should grant soft loans for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and as we know, one of the biggest problems confronting SMEs in Nigeria is paucity of funds for growth and expansion. This will go a very long way in curbing unemployment among youths.
The sad reality is, after all this crooked and dubious dealings, we still accord this politicians lofty heights, offer them best seats in churches, mosques and in social gatherings. We campaign, sing praises for them after traumatizing and denying us of any meaningful and social achievements.
So, until I see visible genuine changes happen in Nigeria, e.g. fixing of power and unemployment, genuine youth empowerment (and not just an avenue for bad leaders to siphon funds); no administration is worth being praised. There have been a lot of misplacing of priorities.
By: Isa Eneye Mubarak
Tweets @IsaMubii
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South East Youth Economic Summit; Israeli Investors To Support Ndigbo

By Obinna Akukwe
Israeli investors and business leads who attended the South East  Youth Economic Summit (SEYES) have promised to assist in the development of Igbo land if the government gives them the much needed support. This was contained in the speech delivered by Dr Kaspi Yoram at the South East Youth Economic Summit first day event. Dr Kaspi said that “Israelis are interested in helping establish businesses that will create employment in the South East, including skills transfer but the government has to give them the support to be able to do that”
The well attended event kicked off yesterday at the Dome , New Haven Enugu  kick started with programme overview on why the economic summit delivered by Rev Obinna Akukwe, Director General, Igbo Mandate Congress, IMC. Rev Akukwe said that the coming of the Israelis is purely for economic purposes and asked the youth “to leverage on the world class advantages the Israelis have in areas ICT, agriculture, solar power technology, global skills accounting and entrepreneurial prowess to become Africa’s leaders in these areas and reduce unemployment in Igbo land”.
The Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo told the participants that the youth are the bedrock of the economy and they should learn new skill that will make them relevant on the economic market. He described the Israelis as world class technologists in many fields and asked the participants to : do everything within their reach to grab as much awareness as possible”
Father of the Day and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife said that the summit is all about developing the South East. Dr Ezeife also posited that “if a tiny Israel can convert the desert to a place of wonder, then the same thing can be replicated in Alaigbo”. He told the audience that there is no political power without economic power.
Former Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria. Ishak Oren, in his goodwill message, asked the participants to partner with Israel to develop the economic potentials of the region.
Mrs Perl Dora Anat, an Israeli agriculturist spoke on facts about Israel and emphasized that the South East of Nigeria has all the advantages in terms of climate, water and human resources, and has the capacity for great industrial expansion. Perl Dvora Anat listed all the advantages the Israelis have attained technologically in the areas of agriculture and water resources and expressed hope that these are applicable in Nigeria with the coming of the Israelis.
Dr David Day , taught on the Jewish entrepreneurial spirit which had made their businesses last for many years. He also expressed hope that the Igbos of the South East will rise to the occasion and lead the industrialization of Africa.
The President of Diamond Youth Transformation Initiative, organizers of the event, Ambassador Uchechukwu Ekpere Paul, in his opening remarks, said that the summit is aimed at speedy industrialization of the South East. He asked the parrici[pants to make good use of the visiting Israeli expertise to improve on the well brrng of the South East.
Hon Ikpeama Felicia, Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources and Dr Anayo Agu represented Governor Ugwuanyi at the event.
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Dilemma of the Nigerian Youth By Gimba Kakanda

These past weeks, I’ve had reason to reflect more on the place of the Nigerian youth in politics and public service. The inspiration for this was the hypocrisy I witnessed all the times our gerontocratic political establishment opened its door for the young join to them. The strangest dilemma is this: the youth advocate inclusion in governance and participation in politics yet anytime a young person is offered an appointment, the first argument is over his or her “lack of experience”.Further, how an “experienced” person ought to occupy such an office. “Experience” has always been a code for age, it is gotten by years and not competence or experience. Just be old enough, ergo, you are garlanded with “experience” as well.

This near predictable trend of reaction was witnessed most recently with the appointment of Ms. HadizaBala Usman as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority. The loudest and, to me, the only known, critics of her appointment were members of her constituency: the political youth. She was portrayed as not only a creation of opportunism, but one lacking requisite experience and age to manage an organisation that complex.

One may then wish to know what our generation means by advocating inclusion in government. How is that a logical demand when one of us is suddenly seen as unqualified, by us, on the basis of her age? One may also wish to know whether those older were chosen based on track records earned in an extraterrestrial world. I mean, whether those older have always been older. It didn’t matter to them that Hadiza has had fair experience working with the current Governor of Kaduna State, and has been involved in some of the nation’s most effective administrative reforms and political and social advocacies. This is what some of her detractors chose to miss—that she understands the architecture and intricacies of the Nigeria the same youths have been furiously asking for.

Some of us who support the “Not Too Young to Run” bill and campaign aren’t doing so in agreement with the view that the youths are (potentially) smarter administrators or possess extraordinary traits no longer exhibited by the older generation. A friend of mine, in the period running up to the 2015 presidential election, promoted Candidate MuhammaduBuhari as the most qualified, citing age as his reason. I dismissed that as an affront to younger Nigerians, because such insidious and dangerous thinking only justifies the very gerontocracy our generation is allying to demolish. One may be tempted to ask the youths to come together and form a strong political alliance or a party in a bid to restate their relevance, size and actual capacity to govern. The youths, according to a National Bureau of Statistics data, make up 70% of the nation’s population. But the same youths that ought to champion a campaign for good governance, inclusion and relevance are divided in defence of their oppressors on social media and various fora, virtual and offline. The same youths are betting to meet at Sofa Lounge for fisticuffs!

It’s hard to determine the ratio of conscious youths to the nonchalant. Our problems require strategic and gradual alliance and inclusion to eventual correct this systemic exclusion. The advocacy shouldn’t be that the youths are smarter, but that they are capable, and shouldn’t be wasted as inconsequential errand boys, which is what some of these PAs, SAs, SSAs are. Because if youth comes with exceptional vision to lead, the newly independent Nigeria, managed by youths, would’ve been a good foundation for us. Similarly, if old age means a thing in governance, Nigeria would’ve been a model nation, from the youths who took over from colonialists to today’s grandpas.
We may allow the idealists to go with their divergent theorisation of the youths as sharper visionaries or as symbols of new new idea. What we know for a fact is, past attempts to unify the youths and establish a strong force in our political equation have failed. Woefully. Today, we remember promising youth groups and advocacies we once embraced as our salvation, with troubling nostalgia. From 20MillionYouthsFor2015 campaign to Generational Voices, the hope was high, and down it came crashing.

Dazzled by the composition and vision of Generational Voices, I wrote then: “I’m happy that I was not a distant witness of Generational Voices. Having been closely involved, and in deep thought, I see a movement about to be built on the foundations of OccupyNigeria, that deferred revolution. But as beautiful as its grand visions are, we have to resist ideological indoctrination and correctly understand that GenVoices is not OccupyNigeria. This is where our task commences.”

Unfortunately, like all before it, it didn’t go as anticipated. Perhaps we were too hungry to recognize its essence. Perhaps our partisan allegiances frustrated its growth into required force. Whatever, we need to restate our political will by overcoming this seemingly genetic political skepticism. Affirmative action from the Establishment may be frowned at by some, but that, and not our polarization, is really what we need, to defeat perceivedmarginalization of the youth. May God save us from us!

Gimba Kakanda

@GimbaKakanda On Twitter


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PDP Youth Tells Dokpesi To Return Alleged Loot To EFCC

Some Peoples Democratic Party’s youths operating under the aegis of Youth Forum For Democracy in Osun State have advised  a national chairmanship aspirant of the party, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, to return the funds allegedly traced to him from the National Security Adviser’s Office to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Dokpesi had on Saturday campaigned at the PDP Secretariat along Ogo Oluwa area of Osogbo and shunned the secretariat of the Adagunodo-led faction of the party situated along Ikirun Road.

He was alleged to have said that any PDP member, who was not at the PDP secretariat belonging to the Omisore faction was not a member of the party.

But the  PDP youths in a statement issued by the YYFD Secretary, Olajide Adam, and the Public Relations Officer, Mathew Alao, in Osogbo on Monday, said Dokpesi was not fit to lead the party this time.

The PDP in Osun State was divided as a result of the last congress of the party in the state and the group berated Dokpesi for visiting Senator Iyiola Omisore and neglecting the Soji Adagunodo-led faction of the party.

The PDP youths said the party did not need a politician, who was accused of stealing the nation’s treasury to lead it if the leaders wanted Nigerians to believe in the party.

The group said the alleged anti-peace comments made by Dokpesi during his campaign in the state showed that he was not competent for the position of the chairmanship of the party.

The statement partly read, “We are obliged to inform members of the public on the visitation of Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, who is jostling for the post of the National Chairman of the PDP, especially on the anti-peace, callous and sentimental comment he made.

“He (Dokpesi) was paying a solidarity visit to Otunba Iyiola Omisore, who is his colleague in the EFCC net onDasukigate.

“Dokpesi is a good customer  of Senator Ahmed Tinubu, (a national leader of the All Progressives Congress) and he (Dokpesi)  could be picked up at anytime. So, he cannot be the PDP chairman because he would cave in at the slightest pressure from Tinubu

“With every sense of modesty, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi should not be contesting for the National Chairman, if he had meant business he should be working on the unity, peace and healing process in Osun PDP.”

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Stemming The Tide Of Poverty In Nigeria Through Meaningful Youth Engagement, By Adedamola Adejobi

The theme for this year’s International Youth Day “Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption” was apposite and could not have come at an appropriate time than this. The financial rating of most countries has been cut due to global economic crisis; chief amongst them being the price of crude oil hitting an all-time low. Most countries that are hitherto heavily dependent on oil are seriously affected by the dwindling oil price. Nigeria is on the list of such badly affected countries.

Nigeria’s situation seems to be getting worse with the renewed attacks on oil pipelines and other installations by the militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers. These so-called avengers claim to be fighting for the interest of the Niger Delta people whose region has been polluted due to oil spill and vandalism. This act raises the mind boggling question: is the blowing up of pipelines and other oil installations a form of protest that seeks to restore or damage further the already battered environment they claim to be fighting for?

Poverty is increasing at an alarming rate globally, especially in Africa. No thanks to the recent global economic meltdown. Before the world entered into recession, it was asserted that half of Nigeria’s population lived on less than $1 a day. I will like to live to imagination what the figure will be now that we have an economic crisis on our hands.

One interesting thing to note is that 65 percent of Nigeria’s population are youths between the ages of 16 and 45 years. These people are considered the strength of a nation. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a report recently which revealed damning figures regarding the rate of unemployment in Nigeria. The report indicated that:

In Q1 2016, the labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 78.4 million from 76.9million in Q4 2015, representing an increase in the labour force by 1.99%.  This means an additional 1,528,647 economically active persons within 15-64 entered the labour force i.e. were able and willing and actively looking for work between January 1 and March 31 2016.”

With this report we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that extreme poverty is imminent and danger is looming, just like former President Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo described it, “Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode”. We are already experiencing the effects of poverty in our country. The youth now get involved in terrorism in North, Kidnapping and vandalism in South, all in a bid to survive untold hardship.

This is no longer time for rhetorical statements as far as fighting poverty is concerned. The country needs to pragmatically increase its capacity in eradicating poverty if it must experience peace, economic growth and progress. Several administrations paid lip service to fighting poverty among the youth and women with introduction of several programmes, from the military regime to the democratic era. All of these programmes and/or policies do not outlive the government that initiates them.

It has been noted by many experts that for any country to achieve significant progress in fighting poverty, it must maintain its policies and/or programmes for a minimum of 20 years. Unfortunately the reverse is the case in our country where the maximum lifespan of any policy meant to fight poverty is the lifespan of the administration that launched it. I will like to quote the common sense Senator who said: “Government should be a continuum. Nations would progress faster if one government continued where the other stopped rather than fight its predecessor”. If we truly want to eradicate poverty I believe the time is now. We must pay attention to the following as quickly as possible and pragmatically too.

RESTRUCTURING OF NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORP (NYSC): the NYSC scheme should be redesigned to become a full-fledged post graduate training programme for youths in their areas of specialization. This I believe will give them the required soft and hard skills needed to be employable. Also, we must incorporate technical and vocational training for young people in a bid to bridge the gap of deficient skilled manpower in the industrial sector. This will put a stop to the importation of expatriates which has led to the growing population of unemployed youths.

ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMERCIAL AND MECHANISED FARM VILLAGES IN EACH SENATORIAL DISTRICT: several governments paid lip services to diversifying the country’s economy through agriculture. From Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) by the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, nothing significant has been achieved in this sector.

The agricultural sector has the largest potential to diversify the economy, create jobs, secure food supply, lower inflation and expand foreign exchange earnings for the country, with over 84 million hectares of arable land.

If the government can establish a commercial and mechanised farm village in each senatorial district across the country, that will give us 109 farm villages with capacity to handle crop and animal production at a large scale. Each of the farm villages will focus on agricultural practices that best suit the soil and climatic condition of that region. They should be provided with the required seedlings, breeds and technical support. If each farm village in each senatorial district can engage the services of 1000 youths, that will give us a total of 109,000 youths that are gainfully employed in direct farming alone. The number of people that will be involved in the processing of these farm outputs and other value addition services will equally stem the tide of youth unemployment significantly.

ESTABLISHMENT OF INDUSTRIAL CLUSTER ZONES: it is a known fact globally that small and medium scale enterprises control the economic growth and development of a country. The small scale business sector in Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges ranging from unstable power supply, poor access to finance and unfavourable policies that give credence to imported products over those manufactured locally.

Of all the challenges that are facing the small scale business sector in Nigeria, the dearth of modern machines for production has impeded the growth of the sector over time. This situation has equally affected the quality of the products churned out by players in this sector. This affects the decision of buyers who inevitably favour imported products over locally made ones.

It is high time government provided industrial machines needed for production of critical consumables we hitherto import, and also for the processing of agricultural products that we can subsequently export. The establishment of at least 3 major industrial clusters in each senatorial district to produce and process agricultural products, foot wares, clothing, and mineral resources will go a long way in making our outputs exportable and also bring in foreign exchange. This will equally reduce our dependence on foreign goods, create employment for thousands of youths and bolster the economy of the country.

SUPPORT FOR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION: science, technology and innovation are important vehicles for achieving sustained growth and national development. Nations achieve industrialization through the use of applied technology, research and development as well as innovation. Developed nations know the importance of this knowledge based sector as a means of contributing to the growth of their economies and providing massive employment.

The value of technological giants like Apple and Microsoft in the American economy cannot be over emphasized. It will not be out of place to say their value surpasses the whole Nigeria’s economy.

Government should support this sector by providing the required support in terms of space, funding, copyright laws, and infrastructure needed for its growth. Once these things are put in place, the sector will be able to locally fabricate machines needed for small and medium scale businesses. It will also be able to develop necessary software that can cater to the ICT needs of the country. We should take a cue from China’s Alibaba that bridges the gap in the trade, service and social sector of the Chinese economy.

The future of any country lies in the judicious and appropriate use of its labour force if it must achieve any serious economic development, peace and stability. Unless poverty is reduced to the barest minimum, all of governments’ effort aimed at curtailing all the attendant consequences of extreme poverty will be futile and ultimately culminate into a failed state.

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Ondo 2016: Youth Declare Support For APC

Ondo Progressive Congress, a youth group under the banner of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday ?stormed the party secretariat in ?Akure to demand inclusiveness for the youths and the adoption of one of them as the gubernatorial candidate of the party.

The youths in their hundreds from the 18 local government areas ?of Ondo State andled by Comrade ?Leo? Olagbade Adeniran?, were received by the ?APC ?state? ?secretary an?d ?leading gubernatorial aspirant Engr. Tunji Light Ariyomo.

They highlighted their expectations and their determination to ensure that they mobilize support for the APC in the coming election.

The youths also observed that of all aspirants ?invited ?to the rally, only Ariyomo turned up.

The atmosphere became excitedly charged when Ariyomo took the microphone to address them assuring them that the party will in its wisdom pick the best candidate that can deliver in office as well as the candidate that offers the best chance at winning the next guber election.

He used the opportunity to commend the “high integrity capital” of President Buhari and warned that only a candidate that the people want can win the coming election as the President is not the type that will bend the rule through rigging and other vices.

Ariyomo further commended the youths for converging in such huge numbers.

In his remark, the APC Chairman, represented by the state secretary, Mr. Rahman Rotimi?,? said the youths must ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is driven out of the state.

Rotimi assured that the APC is committed to providing better life for youths and the entire people of Ondo State.

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Igbos Are Landlords In Nigeria, They Can’t Leave, Ohaneze Youth Tells IPOB

The youth wing of the pan Igbo socio political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has faulted reports credited to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which described the Igbo summit held in Owerri, as insignificant as well as a stage managed jamboree, pointing that Ndigbo are the landlords of Nigeria and cannot leave it for anybody; but will only continue to seek for justice, equity and fair play for all Nigerians.

In a statement signed by its Chairman of all state chairmen, Mazi Alex Okemini, the youth group said IPOB missed the point by describing a gathering of eminent Igbo leaders as a jamboree and urged the group to tender an unreserved apology to the leaders.

The Youth Council noted that it is not compulsory for every meeting of Igbo leaders to hold in Enugu and advised the IPOB  to respect Igbo leaders who had fought to bring Ndigbo to their present status and warned that Ndigbo would continue to seek for fair play in Nigeria.

“Apart from Enugu which is the capital city of Igbo land, a meeting of Igbo leaders can be convened in other towns in Igbo land.

There is no rule which says that every Igbo event must hold in Enugu.

We wish to remind IPOB that Ndigbo are the landlords of Nigeria and cannot leave it for anybody; but will only continue to seek for justice, equity and fair play for all Nigerians.”

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Resolve All Pending Issues Or We Take Over, PDP Youth Threatens Party Leaders

A coalition of youth groups within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has given leaders of the party seven days to resolve all pending issues relating to the ongoing crisis in the party or they would takeover.

Briefing journalists at the end of their meeting Tuesday, at the Wadata Plaza National Secretariat of the party, the chairman of the group, Aderemi Olusegun, said they were saddened by the “unabated internal wrangling” besetting the party.

He said as concerned youth, they found it necessary to come together to take a firm position in the interest of PDP members nationwide.

Mr. Aderemi said the youth had waited enough for the party’s leaders since the Port Harcourt convention to amicably resolve the lingering problem of leadership.

“We are giving the leadership of the party (which includes the BOT, Governors’ Forum, warring groups and other stakeholders) a 7-day ultimatum to resolve this intractable but avoidable rancour.

“However, if this is not resolved, we shall be compelled to mobilize all concerned youths nationwide to take over the affairs of the party, as we have started putting in place an effective structure to take over the party secretariat,” he said.

Mr. Aderemi said the PDP as a party is bigger than individuals and groups, adding that they youth had resolved to “henceforth not tolerate anyone to take the party for a ride”.

“We are therefore demanding the immediate withdrawal of all pending litigations in the court of law, so that we can amicably resolve all issues,” he said.

The PDP youth also said it was sad for the leaders of the party not to consider the effect of their actions on the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, which, they said, were likely to affect the fortune of the party.

“Our party members world over are seriously disillusioned and unhappy.

“We have therefore constituted an 11-man committee to liaise with all the parties concerned and stakeholders so as a matter of urgency resolve all disagreements in our party.

“We shall be making further demands known to all the stakeholders in order to reposition our party as a viable alternative for all Nigerians,” the youth said.

The PDP has been embroiled in crisis since May 21 when different factions emerged at two simultaneous national conventions in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and Abuja.

The party’s national chairman, Ali Sheriff, had announced the cancellation of the Port Harcourt convention citing court orders.

However, PDP governors and the BoT, went ahead to carry out the convention and announced the sack of Mr. Sheriff and all members of his working committee.

The convention also announced the composition of a caretaker committee to be headed by former governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi.

At the Abuja convention, former deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, was announced the new chairman of the party.

The BoT and the Mantu group eventually recognized the leadership of Mr.Makarfi, but, Mr. Sheriff insists he remains the chairman of the party.

While Mr. Makarfi formally resumed duties last week, Mr. Sheriff on Monday led hundreds of his supporters and invaded the national secretariat of the party saying a court in Lagos had already confirmed him as chairman until 2018.

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Ganduje Launches Economic Empowerment Programme, 520 Women, Youth Benefits [Photos]

Kano state government today has launched the first segment of the Ganduje Mass Economic Empowerment Programme (G – MEEP), covering 520 women and youth from across the state.

The beneficiaries were presented with grinding machine, sewing machine, spaghetti making tool and Masa/Kosai fryer and a working capital of N5, 000 each. Ten beneficiaries were drawn each from the 36 rural local government areas, while 20 were selected from the eight metropolitan local councils.

Speaking during the occasion, the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, represented by his deputy, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, explained that the administration is investing in the development of skills, talents and entrepreneurship of women and youths so as to address unemployment, which is one of the biggest challenges of the state.

“I am therefore particularly excited that we are launching this programme with the hope that it will redefine the way we engage and support the empowerment of our young people and women going forward. I want to encourage all of us to join hands with the Government in this direction to enable our youth achieve their goals”, the governor stated.

He added that beneficiaries of the programme will be sent to their respective local governments to receive training and requisite skills and experience that can improve their chosen field of empowerment.

The governor therefore, enjoined beneficiaries of the programme to make a good use of the opportunity not only to acquire the skill but also pursue their respective businesses with zeal and dedication so that they can be empowered and bring full contribution to societal development and peace.

Governor Ganduje also expressed the hope that it will also go a long way in complementing the effort of the government towards checking redundancy and idleness which are the contributing factors to engaging in social vices and criminal activities.

The governor tasked the respective local governments of origin of the benefiting youth to provide mentorship and support that the beneficiaries need to become all that they potentially can be.

On his part, the chairman of the organizing committee of the Ganduje administration first year in office, who is also the state Commissioner of Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, expressed the administration’s commitment to build its human capital for enhanced productivity.

One of the beneficiaries, Ibrahim Nahudu thanked Governor Ganduje for creating enabling environment or youth and women to realize their full potential and contribute significantly to nation building.




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#NotTooYoungToRun : The Feshitization of “Youth” By Jude Feranmi

This piece is long overdue but then, they say Better Late Than Never.

My objective is simple and it is to address the notion which I personally consider a slander that there is a certain feshitization of ‘Youth’ and the capabilities of young people when it comes to nation building or Leadership. I have written opinion pieces on the subject of youth and leadership on a few platforms here ( ) , here ( ) and here ( ) but I still think that there persists an argument that is common amongst young people that ends up diluting arguments about the capability of young persons in leadership particularly where nation building is concerned.

The timing of the Not Too Young To Run Bill sponsored by Hon Tony Nwulu of the PDP cannot be more perfect considering the state of the country, the maturity of our democracy and the global context when it comes to development. The support given to this bill by YIAGA and LEPAN are laudable so much so that other organizations in the civil society space should immediately emulate this going forward. But then, what are the arguments?

When the first republic failed, it was solely in the hands of the young leaders that saw that independence was gotten by ALL means, same goes for the second and the third republic. In Fact, the late General that we will possibly never forget, Sani Abacha whose death was remembered yesterday was 23 years old when he participated in the planning of the first coup in 1966. There are tons of other examples of not just Nigerian leaders who were young but African leaders who were young when they took power and made a complete mess of their countries.

The conclusion of these premises laid out will then be that it does not really matter whether you are young or not, what matters is the fact that you have an orientation of development that benefits your people as a political leader irrespective of whether you are 73 years old or 25. In backing up this conclusion, examples like Rwanda and Tanzania would now be made of their presidents and how old they are and then say China where democracy is not even existent and it seems like having white hair is a criteria for leadership. Youths aspiring for leadership should therefore stop this feshitization of youth, youth, youth!

As valid as this argument sounds, it is best illustrated as a three legged stand with two broken legs and it fails in its entirety to address the problems that a bill like the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill seeks to solve. (1) Marginalization (2) Leadership Experience (3) Innovative Approach to Development (4) Future Impact of Today’s Policies (5) Apathy (6) Passive Civil Society and these are just the immediate problems that are evident.

It is crystal clear that the youth demographic of Nigeria are the most marginalized set of people in the country irrespective of region, religion or tribal origin. The opinion of the young wo/man does not count even down to the matters that involve explicitly youth matters and this is not particularly removed from the current state of the patronage system that passes down to the last man on the street. With 60% of the population, it is unthinkable that the only duty of the young Nigerian is to vote and for the active ones engage and advocate. As a group, this marginalization is deadly maybe not now but in the nearest future as we all understand that the very few who currently holds the aces as far as politics is concerned in the country hand over to their children or their cronies’ children. If the word youth has to be fetishized to ensure this marginalization no longer exists then so be it.

Mhairi Black is another case study, she is currently a representative in the British Parliament and will be 21 years old this year. She had not even completed her thesis at the University when she was elected. In that same parliament there are representatives old enough to be her grandfather. In Fact, the incumbent she unseated, Douglas Alexander had been seating as parliamentarian since 1997 one year after she was born. Douglas himself became a parliamentarian at age 30. The leadership experience that Mhairi is afforded in matters of state is so immense she stands the chance of becoming the second female prime minister in Britain should she so wish. Need I say more?

On Development, the innovations of the past 20 years cannot be compared to the innovations of the next 20 and the way I see this is simple. If government cannot catch up with these innovations, especially African governments, the inequality gap is about to be quadrupled and this argument needs to thorough beating. In an age of information where the 4th industrialization wave is already kicking off, faster and a thousand times better than the last three waves, our ministers focus on going back to subsistence farming, importing grasses and making of pencils with deadlines at 2020, the same year when 50 billion devices will already be connected globally making life way easier, disrupting businesses, catapulting development into seriously high levels and changing the way human beings live.

If we fail to understand that the next 20 years that we are headed for is a decade of innovation, we might end up as the irredeemable scourge of the earth. The same argument as above goes for the future impact of today’s policies which will only affect the young people of today for two reasons, the folks making the policies today will either be dead or useless by the time that impact begins to show up when Nigerians or Africans now have to compete with people who have their cards in the right places.

Take a look at apathy and political participation and you find that 60 percent of the population already feels no need to participate in the polity as they are not adequately represented and there is no incentive to give to a country that gives you nothing except for those who would be called altruists, a category of people already extinct in Nigeria. The #30PercentOrNothing initiative which kicked off last year died a natural death and it’s simple, it is also an advocacy for a policy where the decisions are not made by those who are interesed or a representative of that demography.

Is there a need for competence and compassion and excellence in nation building? Of course Yes! Is there a need for Young people in nation building? Of course Yes! But to think that one trumps the other in the order of priority is to well assume that we can go ahead with implementing the policies of the first industrial revolution competently while the innovation of this century and this age rides past us so much so that even now that we need to leapfrog into the future, we start to play catch-up. And please, don’t even bring the argument that the old leaders that can innovate to or adapt to this age. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks. It’s not because they don’t want to, It’s simply because they do not have the capacity to.

John Legend’s song in the Selma movie featured Common the rapper and one of his lines read

“No one can win the war individually, it takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy”

If there’s a need to feshitize at all, Let the Young FESHITIZE energy and Let the old FESHITIZE wisdom.

I support the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill

May God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Jude ‘Feranmi

National Youth Leader, KOWA PARTY

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